There are several different ways a person in Massachusetts can have their driver’s license suspended or revoked. One way is by “immediate threat.”
What is an immediate threat?
An immediate threat is an indefinite suspension of your driver’s license. When it issues your license will be permanently suspended until you petition the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and request reinstatement. If you don’t apply for reinstatement your license will never be reissued.
Who issues immediate threats?
Immediate threats are generally issued by a police officer. Police officers usually request an immediate threat when a driver is driving in a dangerous manner. The police department simply sends a signed statement under oath to the Registry explaining why the driver poses a threat to public safety and your license is suspended.
Can I get my license reinstated if I have an open criminal case?
No, you will not be able to get your license reinstated. If an immediate threat was issued against your license following a criminal incident that led to charges filed you will not be able to get your license reinstated until the case is resolved or otherwise comes to a conclusion.
Keep in mind that criminal cases can take anywhere from a month to a year or more to resolve. A successful criminal defense attorney will ensure that cases involving clients with immediate threats on their licenses are attended to right away because of how disruptive an immediate threat can be to a person’s life.
How do I remove an immediate threat?
When an immediate threat issues your license is immediately suspended. You do not get an opportunity to go before the Registry and convince them not to issue the immediate threat. Fortunately, after the immediate threat issues you can request a hearing before the Registry to challenge it.
The Registry only holds this type of hearing at certain RMV locations across Massachusetts. These are:
- Fall River
- South Yarmouth
The hearing is the main way immediate threats are removed. It will take place before a hearing officer at the Registry. Your attorney’s job will be to present evidence showing that it would not be improper for you to continue driving and that you do not pose a threat to public safety. The hearing officer will consider all evidence presented to them, including your personal and driving history and the nature of the offense or offenses that led to the immediate threat. They will also allow witnesses to testify.
After evidence is presented, the hearing officer will make a decision on revoking the immediate threat. The law requires that the hearing officer to base their determination on if the driver is competent to continue operating and if allowing them to drive will not threaten public safety. Sometimes they permit reinstatement but under certain conditions, like:
- Retake a permit test
- Retake a driving test
- Take a driving re-education course
- Provide medical documentation
If the Registry denies reinstatement there are ways to appeal that decision and still have the immediate threat removed. You are allowed to appeal the decision to Registry’s Division of Insurance Board of Appeal. If unsuccessful there, the denial can also be appealed to the Massachusetts Superior Court.
Even though these appeal options are available, it is still an efficient criminal defense attorney’s goal to resolve these cases as quickly and favorably as possible. Every hour—indeed, every minute you don’t have your license can negatively impact your life.
Why are immediate threats issued?
According to the Massachusetts immediate threat law, immediate threats are designed to protect the public. This means the Registry decision must be based on a concern for public safety.
Immediate threats typically issue when a driver commits a serious motor vehicle violation. This could include offenses like negligent operation, operating under the influence of alcohol, or hit and run. Less frequently, the Registry may also issue an immediate threat for people with medical issues that seriously impact their ability to drive safely. This could include people who have seizures or face neurological problems.
What are the consequences for driving with an immediate threat?
If the Registry puts an immediate threat on your license you are not allowed to drive. If you drive anyway and are pulled over by police you face the possibility of being charged with a criminal offense or civil penalties. This could include operating after suspension or revocation of license.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE AN IMMEDIATE THREAT, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.
CALL 781-393-5900 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AVAILABLE DEFENSES.